tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC July 14, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
eric, i'm very happy that you and your wife are safe, and i appreciate you making the time tonight and get some rest. >> sure, thank you. >> thank you. all right, our coverage continues next with rachel maddow. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris. thanks, my friend. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. it's been about four and a half hours since what looks to have been another significant terrorist attack. this time in france, this time in the southern french city of nice. to give you some context for where and when this attack happened, nice is in the southeastern corner of france. it's near the border with italy. it's a port city. it's a beautiful place. it sits right on the mediterranean. and famously, right along the seashore in the middle of that city, there's a beautiful, long promenade, a long walkway, over four miles long. it's called the promenade des anglais. today is not an ordinary day in france. it's bastille day, the biggest
national holiday in france. and tonight, in nice, all along the waterfront, people were lined up, all along that promenade to watch a big fireworks display for bastille day. it was about 10:30 p.m. local time, which means it was about 4:30 p.m. east coast time in the u.s. the fireworks had just wrapped up. the crowds were starting to disperse when this attack happened. a big white truck, modern, high profile tractor trailer basically was turned into a battering ram. it barreled into the crowds on the street. there are reports that the truck may have smashed through security barricades in order to get down onto the promenades amidst these crowds. those are unconfirmed. however the truck got there, the nice prosecutor said the truck drove about two kilometers, over one mile down the promenade, running people down. accelerating at pedestrians and
crowds, reportedly zig-zagging in order to hit people. once the truck stop, the driver got out of the truck with a gun, you can bee the bullet holes in the windshield. witnesses say he started shooting. the president of the region confirmed tonight that the driver did start shooting at people after running them down in the truck. once the driver had stopped and gotten out of the truck, armed police shot him and killed him. regional officials are saying the death toll now is at least 77 people. with an additional 50 people in other words, but i would just urge you to take caution with those numbers. we may see the death toll change. we may see the numbers of injured changed. i will tell you, even if the death toll is revised at all downward, just the eyewitness reports we have seen tonight suggest that as a minimum the death toll here will be in the dozens. this appears to be a major
attack with significant fatalities. again, our most specific official word at this point is from regional officials in france and what they're saying at this hour is at least 77 people killed. there are some video of the truck in motion, during the attack, basically at the start of the attack. you may have seen this video earlier on our air. it appears to be the very start of the attack. we're going to show that video right now. i want to warn you before we show it, that the video is not directly graphic. you don't see the truck hitting people. but because this is the start of the attack and because of the way the truck accelerates into the crowds, it is -- this is frightening to see. what you can see is the truck sort of rolling slowly up the street, and then you see people sort of running after it, possibly police running after it, banging on the truck, presumably they were trying to tell the driver that he is not allowed to drive down there, and then the truck just takes off, accelerates. and with that crowd of people in
the foreground there, you can start to hear the distant screaming. again, this appears to be the beginning of this attack tonight, just horrific footage. that truck then did drive on for over a mile, we're told at least 77 dead, dozens wounded is the official word. the french president francois hollande opened what's called a crisis cell to respond to tonight's attack. in the uk, when they have major incidents like this, they have what's called a cobra meeting. they're calling it in france a crisis cell, it's basically an emergency meeting at the national capital. that's franz wa holland in the middle, with the french prime minister on the left. the paris prosecutor's office has opened a terrorism investigation into the attack. french officials are not yet calling this a terrorist attack, but in a statement tonight, president obama condemned what he said, quote, appears to be a horrific terrorist attack. president obama also offering
tonight in his statement, thoughts and prayers and any assistance that france may need. there's close intelligence and legal cooperation between american agencies and a close ally like france at the best of times. at the worst of times american agencies step up that cooperation and the president said that would happen in the light of this incident tonight. the french interior ministry said among other things, this investigation which is now opened, will focus on determining whether or not anybody else was involved in the attack. at the moment, the only single perpetrator we're aware of is that truck driver, who is dead, who was shot and killed by police in the midst of the attack. but we don't know if there were other people involved. either directly in terms of being involved directly in the use of the truck to kill all these people, or somehow indirectly if he had assistance in some other way. a regional official told the press that the truck was, quote, loaded with arms, loaded with grenades.
we don't exactly know what that means. we don't know literally what was in the truck, what part of the truck those things might have been in, nor do we know what that might mean in terms of the tactical approach to this attack. we are expecting a press conference from france's interior ministry. as soon as we get that, we'll go live to that event, with live translation from french to english if and when that press conference starts during this hour. but to recap, 77 people are dead tonight in nice, dozens more injured. it appears to have been an armed attacker driving a truck as a weapon through and over crowds that were gathered for a bastille day celebration in the french city of nice. the wreckage and the bodies, along that promenade in nice tonight, stretching over a mile. joining us now from nice, france, bob franken, nbc news producer. he happened to be in nice on vacation when this attack happened tonight.
bob, thank you very much for joining us this evening. a really appreciate your time. >> thank you for having me, rachel. >> let me just ask if anything i just said in summarizing what i just said, if you know anything different than that, if i got any of that wrong and then just tell us about what happened from your vantage point over the course of the evening. >> well, i did not see the truck actually strike the pedestrians. i heard certainly a number of witnesses. my vantage point by the way, our apartment was in the particular area where the truck went. we were in our apartment. and the truck went onto the sidewalk, about two blocks from us. and then just started mowing down the pedestrians who had been there to watch the fireworks display, because it's bastille day, the crowds were large because this is what amounts to a four-day weekend, and they were watching the fireworks. it was right after the fireworks were over that witnesses said the truck sped through and
started mowing down pedestrians. i saw dozens who were either dead or injured in the area right in front of me. as i went out there, police were trying to herd people onto the beach. to set the scene a little bit, the promenade des anglais is the main thorough fare that runs right by the beach. then there's a pedestrian walkway, a fairly wide one. and the stands were set up so people could watch the fireworks. the police were trying to get people down to the beach, down the steps to the beach, perhaps 10 to 15 feet below. they were worried that there might be a follow-up attack, and they wanted people out of the way. in the meantime, however, thousands, literally thousands, were running for their lives into the center city, away from the promenade. now, the promenade scene right now, there are no vehicles on it whatsoever except for the emergency vehicles. and there are dozens and dozens of them. the last time i looked, which was a couple of minutes ago,
they were still dealing with bodies. the first thing they wanted to do was try and help the injured. at every intersection, you're seeing police, armed with semi- automatic rifles who are keeping all vehicular and pedestrian traffic away from what amounts to a huge crime scene. the truck continued past this location and continued to mow down pedestrians until it was stopped by police, perhaps a couple hundred yards, 2, 300 yards away. >> bob, when you say that you saw the vehicle, you saw the truck up on the sidewalk going after pedestrians, is this an area that had been essentially fully pedestrianized and that there weren't other non-emergency vehicles around because of the fireworks? were there people walking in the street and on the sidewalk, or was there normal vehicle traffic there as well? >> no, the normal vehicle traffic, this was a major thorough fare, but the vehicle traffic had been blocked off. i'm told this is quite routine
for this kind of event. and so it had become a pedestrian walkway. and that had happened actually hours before. there was a heavy police presence hours before. but that's the kind of thing that you come to expect throughout the world because of the fear of terrorism. and so the truck was able to catch people by surprise, and we've heard from other reports, and was able to do the gruesome deed that he was able to do. >> bob, in terms of the sort of tactical nature of this attack, what we've seen in terms of the snippets of video that we've got and what we've heard from other eyewitnesses, is that the driver appeared to be deliberately steering toward large numbers of pedestrians, seemed to be accelerating into people. is that basically what you could see as well from your vantage point, that he was aiming at people and taking care to hit as many as possible? >> well, i emphasize that i did
not see the truck do the deed. i came onto the scene a couple of moments later, as people were yelling and screaming and trying to escape. but witness after witness said the same kind of thing. they differed on whether there were gun shots or not and of course that could be explained by the fact that there were remnants of the fireworks display going on. but it was very clear, to just about everybody, that this was no accident. this was not a case of a truck driver, for instance, hitting the gas pedal instead of the brakes, because he continued even after efforts to stop him, and of course continued until his life was taken in a hail of gunfire. >> bob, one last question for you. as you say, you're at your apartment in an area you're very familiar with. you described the emergency vehicles taken over the enormous crime scene, dealing with the injured, and the recovery of bodies. did you at any point over the course of this evening, over the last four or five hours, get any
instruction, any official instruction as to staying in your home or leaving the area? was there any official communication? >> well, whatever the french words for get the hell out of here were, that's what i was being told by police. and what they were then doing is saying that we need to go down to the beach, we need to go down to the beach. because of the fear that i expressed earlier that there might be some sort of follow-up attack. but there's been no declaration, other than through media, that in fact, people should stay at their homes. what happened was, when police were trying to get people down to the beach, some of the families who were down there, in particular, would look for the opportunity, and then they would leave the beach, come up to the area and then run into town. >> bob franken, nbc news producer talking to us from nice, france. thank you very much. joining us now, terry clark, who was also an eyewitness to this attack tonight in nice.
she's from scotland, she's lived in nice for the past 20 years. thank you very much for being with us on this very difficult night. i really appreciate your time, ma'am. can you just describe to me where you were tonight and what you saw from the beginning. >> yes, i had gone to watch the fireworks. we were in the middle of the promenade des anglais. we were sitting there. and the fireworks finished and then everyone was coming up from the beach and moving -- i mean, the whole promenade was a pedestrian zone. there were no cars, nothing on pedestrian zone, apart from pedestrians. and everyone was making their way home, when all of a sudden from -- i have no idea, this big white van came racing down and
at the beginning i was really taken by surprise, thinking, is this something going on, and then it just sped right past, right in front of us, about one, maximum, two meters in front of us. when i turned my head, all i saw were people's bodies lying just one meter away from where he had knocked them all down. he was zig-zagging on the bicycle lane and back onto the road, trying to kill as many people as possible. >> terry, you say that the van, the truck, passed as near as two meters in front of you. did you actually see the driver as it went past? >> no, i didn't see the driver. i just -- i mean, it went so fast. i mean, it was just zig-zagging and, no, i didn't see the driver. i just saw the van. i mean, i was just -- i had no idea what it was, what it was doing. so i was following with my eyes the van because it was just
speeding at such a speed. then when i turned back, i just saw these bodies on the ground. i mean, it was so quick and the bodies just -- they didn't even look like people. nobody was moving. everyone was in shock, and then all of a sudden everyone was screaming and running as your other guest said, towards the center, away from the promenade. because they thought that there was bombs in the van. so people were just trying to get away. >> terry, just an unbelievably traumatic thing that you're describing and i realize this has just happened for you within the last few hours. so again, thank you for talking to us. but let me just ask you also to describe the aftermath, in terms of people laying in the street. people obviously killed laying in the street, presumably also people injured, did you yourself run away? did you see the way anybody else in terms of emergency responders
or other just civilians responded in terms of trying to help people? >> well, just people who were with, i mean, the people that were together that were not injured were helping the people they were with that were injured. and my instinct was to go towards -- but the person i was with said, no, no, we have to get out. i mean, it was a sea of people just running down the streets. and i suppose it was the police that was pushing everyone towards the wakest. whereas a live to the east, so i was having to walk against the sea of people that were coming towards me. because i wanted to go home to my home. but i mean it was just mayhem. it was total mayhem. and i would never like to experience anything like that again. i mean, i asked myself, how did
such a big van get onto the promenade des anglais, that was a pedestrian zone? i mean, the police were everywhere, how did such a big van get onto the promenade? that's what i would like to know. >> we have had some and i don't know if this will help, and we'll get more confirmed in the next few hours. we just found out in about 15 minutes, the french president is going to speak, so maybe he'll have some of the details. but we did have some reports that the fan may have smashed through physical security barriers that they had set up to keep vehicles out of this whole area tonight and that the first thing that van might have done would be to physically ram through whatever they had set up to keep vehicles off there. but again, that's just some reports and a lot of the information is hard to get at this point. >> yeah, it just seems impossible to me. okay, they have barriers, but a van like that, you can see it coming from miles away. you can see it coming from miles away. and if it came up a side street,
the side streets in nice are so small, and cars packed on each side. i just think it would have been so difficult. i mean, unless he came just straight from the airport, then what kind of protection are they having for the people here? >> yeah. >> i just cannot fathom how they have -- the police -- the roads have been blocked since lunch time. they've been blocked since lunch time. i mean, there was traffic jams everywhere since lunch time. so i just don't understand how this van got onto the promenade des anglais. >> terry clark, an eyewitness to this attack, a very near eyewitness to this attack. i'm very glad that you and the people you were with are safe, i'm sorry for what you've gone through and i'm glad you were able to talk us through it tonight. thank you. >> you're welcome. thank you. >> joining me in studio, a "new
york times" correspondent, rukmini callimachi, she's just returned from france today. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> when you landed in new york today, what was the timing in terms of your arriving and your travel? >> i was in the taxi back from the airport when i started to get messages asking if i had seen an isis claim of responsibility for this attack. >> have we? >> not yet, no. and it usually takes a couple of hours. what is of note here is that there's an enormous amount of fan activity. isis -- pro-isis counts, that are closely affiliated to the group are tweeting about it, are putting out images of the carnage. one very well known account put out one short message that said "france," smiley face. that activity has been wrong in the past. it was that way after
germanwings and after egyptair, which turned out to have no isis link. but the volume of it is indicative. the volume here is on par with what we saw after the paris attacks and the brussels attacks. so it can act as a kind of weather vane. >> so just to be clear, when this is not a claim of responsibility, at least not yet, but there are isis sympathizers and isis-linked online sources celebrating, that can sometimes be a red herring? >> yes. >> it can be them hoping it was an isis-linked attack without them knowing? >> it can be them hoping. but when it starts to crescendo, it typically tends to lead to a claim of responsibility. there are two very important accounts that have put out messages about it. one is the cal afa news account which several analysts believe is an official isis account. they have asked heem to essentially hijack the hash tags that are being put out for nice,
including "pray for nice" and instead tweet out messages in support of the islamic state. secondly, there's an out by a man who is an isis member, and he's been putting out celebratory messages. so at least those two are isis accounts, but it's not yet a claim of responsibility. >> in terms of the way isis operates and we've talked about this after a number of talks, somebody claiming this attack for isis, if that happened, wouldn't mean that isis had advance notice it was going to happen. >> right, right. isis by design has been just like al qaeda before it, trying to inspire people in the west to carry out attacks, and in fact, the technique of using a car to kill people is a specific technique that they have discussed. the spokesman of isis, in one of his earliest speeches for the group, in september 2014, said,
use anything you can, use a rock to smash their head, use poison to poison them. throw people off roofs, use your car to ram into disbelievers. a month after that, a troubled young man in canada -- >> that's right. >> who had an isis logo on his facebook page used a car to ram into two security officials, killing one in quebec. >> and there have been other car-born attacks in other cities in france, where that type of attack has been attributed -- >> yeah, not as tightly linked to isis. and certainly in palestine. again, not certainliy linked to isis, but this idea of using a car as a weapon of murder is something they have floated before. >> and pre-isis in the al qaeda-inspired magazine, there was the repurposing of a ford f-150 ad to inspeire people to
use vehicles as battering rams. >> exactly. you bring up a very good point, the notion of the lone wolf attacks, of inspiring people who have no connective tissue, to the group, is something that started with al qaeda. as early as 2010, their magazine, inspire, which is named inspire specifically because they're trying to inspire attacks, has been attempting to do this. what's different here, if this is indeed an isis attack, isis has had so much more success. they have been so much better at being able to reach through the internet into the hearts and minds of troubled young people and getting them to act in their name. >> part of me wonders whether that is that they are more skilled at it than al qaeda was. part of me wonders if they're not benefitting from the road that al qaeda laid down -- >> yes. >> and that al qaeda tried it first, had limited success, some success, but limited success, and now isis has their own efforts that were --
>> absolutely. i thinks you're right on. there's no question that isis is much better at media than al qaeda ever was. even now, years into it, even as they're watching isis do this, al qaeda propaganda looks amateurish by comparison. and that propaganda, i think, is responsible for number one, recruiting people. people see this online and beginning speaking to them, and as a result of this, end up going. and also for inspiring these attacks. now, we don't know if this is isis yet. >> exactly. >> we don't know if it's an independent actor. it could also be a directed attack. and we have seen directed attacks in paris, in brussels, in this neighborhood. >> an isis-directed attack, meaning people who were essentially deployed from isis central in iraq and syria to go do this? >> yes. >> and what's very interesting about nice, and people have forgotten this, but nice, and the town close to it, cannes,
famous for the film festival, has been a crucible of jihadist activity. a couple of years ago, there was a cell that was dismantled there, based around a mosque in cannes. cannes is around 20 miles from nice. 22 young men, who had jihadist tendencies, several of them traveled to syria, they ended up joining al qaeda and isis. and the very first isis fighter that i was able to document who returned to europe with a plan to carry out an attack was ibrahim woodeena from the french riveriera, living close to nice and he came back from syria in december 2013, reached the area in february of 2014, and was arrested with three bombs before he could carry out an attack. police believe that one of the targets was the carnival in nice. so this is not an area that is foreign to this, let me just say. >> rukmini, in terms of being not naive and being observant
here, but also not getting out -- leaning out over our skis, obviously the clearest indication that this is the work of isis or a group like isis, will be a claim of responsibility. in the absence of that, what else would you need to know to be able to responsibly attribute this to them? what else would you look for? >> you know, it would be very rare, if this is actually for them to not claim an act of terror in europe. because this has been so much of their objective approxima. but if you don't, you end up with a situation like turkey. even now when i write about the istanbul airport, i have to use language that hedges, because we don't fully know if it was isis. >> even though there's lots of hallmarks of it. >> right. >> appears to be connections, but without a claim -- >> without a claim, it creates this gray zone, and an area of
confusion where you're never completely sure. >> one of the things that happened recently, rukmini, is that there was a lot of attention paid to the timing of ramadan this year. >> right. >> with the call from isis that people should carry out attacks in their home countries, especially during the holy month of ramadan, which has now ended. >> which has just ended. >> were we focusing too much on that? i mean, this is -- ramadan has ended. are we just in a period of increased isis exertion of force? >> i think the data very much bears out the notion that this ramadan was particularly bloody. there was the bangladesh attack, we believe the turkish attack, what happened in saudi, we're still not clear there, orlando, which was an inspired attack. >> right. >> so they've had, perhaps, more success in this time frame than we've seen in the past. but this is a group that is not trying to do violence just in ramadan. that's a period that is very
important to them, but they've called for jihad year round. i've just returned from paris as you've pointed out. all of the attention right now in france was on the euro 2016, the soccer match that just ended. when i was in paris, i could look out from the balcony of my colleague's apartment where i was staying and you could see soldiers patrolling the streets of paris. it was rather disconcerting. that just ended. so there was this sigh of relief, okay, we got through it. >> yeah, 51 nations represents in euro 2016, one of the biggest sporting events in the world and there was no attack perfo. >> and then this. >> rukmini callimachi, as always, it's good to have you here, and it's always under terrible circumstances, but it's clarifying, thank. >> thank you. >> we are awaiting the speech, expected remarks from the french president francois hollande. as we wait for him to begin his remarks i want to bring in laura
haim, the white house correspondent for canal plus, thank you for being with us tonight. i appreciate your time. >> you're welcome. >> are you able to add anything to what we understand in terms of the basics of the attacks and the basics of the investigation, either from french authorities or from the french media? >> yeah, there's something interesting, rachel, the symbol of the dead. it's july 14, which is like in the united states, july 4th, and the mayor of niece, christian estrosi pointed that out very well. he said it was a day to celebrate liberty, friendship, democracy, the best of the french values of republic. and that was not an ordinary day. it's also a date where you bring the families to see the fireworks while you're not working. it's a day off. you start home and at night, you're going out to see the
fireworks. and this day which is the symbol of the french republic was targeted. that's something quite important. it was not, again, an extraordinary date. it was an important date for the french society, where usually you celebrate, you dance in the street, you listen to music. tomorrow, nice, there was supposed to be a concert of rihanna. of course it has been canceled now. there was to be a jazz festival. of course it's been canceled. it was a time of celebration, and now it's a time of death. >> laura, we were talking earlier with rukmini callimachi about nice specifically within france and she was talking about recently a fairly large cell of islamic extremists broken up in the nearby city of cannes. what can you tell us about nice, in terms of his population, in terms of his perceived perceptibility to militant sentiment? anything about that part of the country particularly in terms of
its susceptibility here? >> it's a very sensitive issue to speak about the south of france because in the past ten years, you have massive people coming from north africa, who came to france, who settle in the south of france, and there's a real problem between the population, when most of the time is working extremely well and trying to do the best for the french society. but you have also some people who don't want to be part of the french society. the far right in the south of france is on the rise. at the last local election, in some cities, you had the far right at 30% and it's a very sensitive area in the french society. that's the first thing. the second, after the bataclan attack, i'm telling you that a lot of police people, a lot of investigators were expecting an attack in france this summer.
and according to some sources, french investigators, french officers, the french intelligence were ready for an attack on a beach in france like this happened in tunisia a few months ago. so everybody was ready for this type of attack. a few hours ago, the french president, francois hollande, was talking to a french reporter inside the elysee palace, and he was saying the home of france was threatened. he was talking about the state of emergency put in place after the bataclan attack, which was supposed to be lifted on july 26. and the french president is going to speak in a few minutes and i'm expecting the french president to, of course, raise this issue about what's going to happen with the state of emergency. >> on that point, laura, the state of emergency, obviously, is an alarming concept, but it has specific logistical
consequences. it gives law enforcement, it gives police, and even in some cases, gives the military power that they would otherwise not have, on domestic soil. in peacetime that state of emergency, we may expect to hear tonight from president hollande that it's being extended, but what has french law enforcement and intelligence and the military been able to do under that state of emergency that they otherwise wouldn't have been able to do without it? >> they were able to go more easily into homes and able not to wait for a judge, but to see what's happening in some homes of some suspected terrorists. that was quite important and it has been quite criticized by a lot of people, because you know france is deeply divided about how to handle that. that was a debate in french society about we don't want to have a french patriot act. so after the bataclan attack, it was a very sensitive issue.
and at this moment, again, it's a democracy which is trying to protect itself against terrorists with weapons of democracy. and i think in the world we live in at this moment, this is the challenge. how can you try to prevent an attack? what can you do in terms of civil liberties? is it possible to use the weapons of the democracies against the weapons of terrorism? this is a very sensitive time. what i can tell you is that it's a very, very important history moment in france tonight. people are in shock. there's a huge emotional aspect, and as some officials pointed out, the country now needs to be resilient, and need to show to the world that life is not going to be stopped by terrorists. >> after the bataclan attack, again, as we are awaiting the french president's remarks tonight, how did the country
judge the response of the top leaders in france, of the president, of the security services? what's been the domestic view of the way french politicians and law enforcement responded to that and handled that? >> it was very interesting, because the writings of the french president before the bataclan attack were extremely low. and then the bataclan attack happened, and there was a moment of unity in the nation, a moment of unity around the french president who went inside despite what his security team was telling him. and it's interesting in terms of political communication, to watch how francois hollande, the french president is handling another terrorist attack. it's now almost 3:30 in the morning in paris. the french president is going to speak live.
he went back to the elysee. it's like here if you have unfortunately a terrorist attack, the american president talking at 3:30 in the morning, to the nation. this is a very, very sensitive moment, and francois hollande, like he did after the bataclan, like now he's going to do it, wants to create a sense of unity and wants to probably tell the nation, please stay quiet, we're going to prevail what happened tonight. >> laura, in terms of the ongoing coverage tonight, as you're monitoring the coverage of your colleagues, your own publication, and the french press, are there details that are being reported in the french press, by the french media, that we are not reporting in terms of the death toll, in terms of the number of people injured, in terms of whether or not there is any certainty that this attacker acted alone? do we have any further updates in terms of -- from local press, from local authorities in terms
of the basics of what happened tonight? >> two things. in terms of fact what happened, the speed of the truck, the truck was driving extremely fast, and it was driving apparently for a long time, on two miles, or more than two miles. and according to a lot of witnesses, the truck was really trying to kill a lot of people, and it was really running on the bodies of a lot of people, and the witnesses are still in shock by what they saw. it was extremely violent. the second thing is that, inside the truck, according to the french mayor, christian estrosi, of the city, there were weapons, and it was not small weapons. and you know that in france, the law about weapons is absolutely different than what happen in the united states. it's really difficult for the french people to have a weapon. but in the truck, there were, according to the french mayor, a lot of weapons.
we don't know which type of weapons, because christian eft estrosi, the french mayor, didn't want to eampt elaborate on that. and then there was something that struck me. it was the emotional aspect of the french journalists who were reporting from nice. some of my colleagues were today on holidays. you know that the french love holidays. it was july 14, not a lot of people were working today. a little bit like the memorial day weekend. and a lot of people in the french channels were young and of course they went on site to report, and some of them when they were reporting about the bodies, about what they saw, were almost in tears. and that's compared to the bataclan, a very important moment. because during the bataclan, the reporters went on site, but they were not able to get inside and to see what happened. tonight, a lot of reporters were
right there, they saw the bodies, they saw the horrible massacre, and they were extremely moved in their reporting. again, nice, tonight, was a very, very difficult scene to observe. >> laura haim, white house correspondent for canal plus, laura, thank you for being with us. i'm sure we'll be back with you later this evening. thank you. at this hour, we don't know the motivation behind tonight's truck attack in nice. but i should mention that there have been other incidents worldwide, and indeed in france, in which weapons -- that particulars have been made into weapons. we were speaking earlier with rukmini callimachi about an attack last year in canada, which preceded the attack on the canadian parliament, in which a different attacker used his vehicle to deliberately attack canadian security services, two members of the canadian security services.
he wounded one, killed another. he was confronted by law enforcement. they shot him dead. that was a vehicle used as a weapon in what appeared to be a terrorist motivated attack in canada last year. twice in 2014 vehicles were used to target pedestrians in france. in the french city of dijon, about a dozen pedestrians were hit by a car when the driver apparently deliberately steers into them. that was just before christmas. december 21st, 2014. then december 22nd, 2014, in another city, the city of funt, another person rammed a van into a christmas market. nobody was killed in that attack, ten people were wounded. last year in a crowded bus stop at the western entrance to jerusalem, it was a palestinian man who rammed his car into pedestrians, wounding nine
peop people. welcomes have been used as weapons of terror, to wound and kill large numbers of people at previous times and in other locations in france. it's fweactually a tactic that been deliberately called for by al qaeda in its inspire magazine and more recently by spokespeople for isis. they've called on isis supporters worldwide to use whatever they have at hand, whether it's a rock, or a gun or a vehicle, to cause as much mayhem and kill as many people as possible where they are. this is a tactic, it's one of the things that will be looked into in terms of ascribing motive and responsibility for what happened. joining us now is an expert in this field, my friend malcolm nance. also an msnbc terrorism analyst. it's good to have you here tonight. i wish we talked to you more often in better circumstances,
but thanks for being here tonight. >> well, i'm sorry i have to be here again. >> yeah, i heard you say earlier that the technical term in your field for this kind of attack is suicide vehicle as weapon attack. does this happen so often that it's seen as essentially a category of terrorist tactic? >> well, yes, as a matter of fact it is. it happens quite a bit. unfortunately, it's one of those type of terrorist attacks, which just aren't seen all the time in the west, because they generally don't cause large quantities of casualties, as we're seeing here in nice. the largest quantity of these attacks have occurred in israel, just since 2014, when it appears that some palestinian radicals adopted this technique. they've had over 48 of these attacks. 2015 being the largest number of attacks. 36 just in 2015 alone. killing 19 israeli citizens and
the suicide attackers, and wounding over 100 individuals. but this has been called for, as rukmini mentioned, as i spoke about earlier this evening. al qaeda called for this tactic as early as 2010. isis called for this tactic back in 2014. it's just an improvised weapon. what they do, if they can't get their hands on explosives or weapons, they take a vehicle, a large size vehicle and they create it into, as we say in the counterterrorism community, a 2,000-pound weapon, or larger in this case. and they use whatever's at hand and they can cause, as we see here, when it's given forethought and malice, very, very large casualties. >> given the frequency with which it's been used and the fact that it's been called for explicitly and used multiple times as an attack tactic in your field, in the counterterrorism field, is there any developed response for trying to recognize it before it happens, or prevent it?
it seems like something that's such a ubiquitous tool that it would be almost impossible to head off. >> sure, and for practitioners who have been anywhere near terrorism, iraq, afghanistan, libya, places like this, where these types of attacks occur, they usually have a weapon system on board, they usually have a bomb on board. so the only place that you can actually see that, if you don't have intelligence about the intentions of an individual is the run-up to the attack. and there's a video of that right there, of the truck slowing down, he gets to the security gate, and then he crashes the security gate. we also have a technical term for this. that's the point of failure. that's the point where there's nothing you can do about the attack. when you have a vehicle like this, we'll find out more forensically about the weapons that were on board. you know, that should have been the point where there should have been intelligence
indicators, where the terrorists acquired weapons, light arms, or hand grenades, and then transported himself to the site of the attack, and then preceded to use this vehicle as a weapons system. and only at the end of it did he actually carry out shooting arms from what we can tell in the initial reports. so these are things that are very hard to predict. obviously isis and al qaeda and other jihadist groups, if that's who carried out this attack, they are being adaptive. and the tighter the security comes, the more adaptive they get and the more clever that they get. >> malcolm, in terms of trying to ascribe responsibility here, part of me doesn't want to, in the sense that whoever claims responsibility for this, will see this as a great victory, as the death toll climbs higher, they'll see that as a greater and greater success. but of course we will be looking for counterterrorism purposes at who either deployed this
attacker or who inspired this attacker, who may have facilitated it and whether or not he may have had either accomplices or enablers, who got him to do it. in the absence of a claim of responsibility, either attributed to the attacker or attributed to any one group, what will you be looking for in terms of figuring out what organization may have been at the root of this? >> i always look at the attack itself or the indicators that lead up to the attack. the attack itself tells me everything that i need to know. i can go back and cross-reference vehicle as weapons system, and in this case, suicide vehicle as weapons system because the attacker had no intention of escaping, and that tells me it's going to come into a very small pantheon of groups. it's going to be al qaeda, you know, which actually called for these attacks, could be someone who was inspired by the palestinian attacks and just decided to do it large. because isis is so prevalent in -- >> malcolm, let me cut in.
sorry to interrupt you. the french president has just begun his remarks. we'll come back to you in a moment. i'm sorry. >> translator: in nice tonight, a truck has run towards a crowd that was there for the fireworks of the 14th of july celebration with the intention to kill, to crush, and to massacre. we deplore, at the time, i am talking 77 victims, including several children, and about 20 gravely injured, critically injured. this attack, which is obviously a terrorist attack, is once again, of the absolute level of violence, and it is clear that we must do everything we can to fight against this scourge of terrorism.
the driver of the truck has been shot dead. we don't know at this time if he had accomplices. but we do everything we can to double-check his identity so that we might be able to find out if he was helped. france has been struck on the day of its national holiday, on the 14th of july, symbol of liberty. because human rights are challenged and denied by fanatics and france is naturally a target, i speak on behalf of our grief nation, our solidarity for the victims and for the victims' family. all the resources we have are being deployed to help the injur
injur injured, the act which activates all hospitals in the area has been triggered, after paris in january 2015, and then again in november of last year with sandini, now it is nice's turn to be struck, but it is france in its entirety which is targeted by islamic terrorism. in such circumstances, we must demonstrate that we are very vigilant and that our determination is unshakeable. we have taken a number of measures already. all those have been considerably strengthened. but we must, since we are doing the summertime, we must strengthen again our level of protection. therefore, i have decided, following the proposition of the
prime minister, and with the relevant members of the cabinet of the defense of the interior, firstly, that we are going to maintain at a to have military personnel on the territory, in addition to the law enforcement forces. i have also decided to call upon the, in other words, all of those who at some time or another have been serving in the military or who are a part of the military forces in order to assist and help the police and saw d saddam forces and we'll be able to report them -- sudan forces. and we'll be able to report them as needed and also i decided that the state of emergency that
was suppose on july 26 will be extended by three months. it will be presented to parliament by next weekend. nothing will shake us and will make us renounced against terrorism. in fact, we're going to strengthen our action in syria and in iraq, and we'll continue to hit those who are attacking us on our own territory and we will hit us in their own locations. i announced it yesterday morning, a council of defense will be organized tomorrow. it will review all the measures that we have already adopted and which i have just announced that will allow the immement of all the forces that are -- implement all the forces that are needed and where we need protection and
where we need to be vigilant. with the prime minister, i will travel after that council defense for tomorrow, to show my support to the elected officials to the cities and to help them and to mobilize all of the available resources and needed resources. finance is deeply saddened by this new tragedy. it is horrified by what has just happened, such a monstrosity which is using a trucker to deliberately kill dozens and dozens of people who have just come simply to celebrate the 14th of july. france is deeply saddened but it is also very strong and it will always be stronger, i can assure you, that it will be always be
stronger than the people who are attacking or trying to attack us. >> speaking live in paris. i'm just going to reiterate some of the main points he just made. as he speaks the death toll tonight's attack stands at 77 victims, including several children. he described the attack tonight as "obviously a terrorist attack" he said we must do everything we can to fight this. they said the attacker, they do not know if the attacker had accomplic accomplices. he said, specifically, that a plan has been triggered, a national plan triggered which activates all hospitals in the area. all resources are being used to help the injured. we do not have a firm total on the number injured, we know it is the dozens, describing a lot of people being grievely
injured. the prime minister decided on a number of security measures that happened in france, not least of which is the extension of the state of emergency that france was put under after the attack in november, that state of emergency was due to expire this month, the president just explained that state of emergency will be extended further three months. he also described a military -- didn't sound like a military call up, i'm going to try to get a little care fi case -- clarification described calling the people who are members of military or not on active duty. he said the operational reserve will be called up to assist and bolster the number of police forces, and, specifically, at france's borders. that's an interesting proposal. i'm not exactly sure what the analogy will be for that.
we'll try to get clarification on that in just a moment. interestingly, the president also said that there's nothing that could happen that would dissuade france from its counter terrorism, mission and in fact france will be strengthening and increasing its operations against isis in iraq and syria. he then said towards the end of his remarks that he will be convening the french defense council tomorrow and there after he would be headed personal there in the aftermath. let's bring in the conversation, thank you, again, for staying with us. let me ask you, we were listening to that with english translation, i don't know if you heard it directly in french. but did both the translation and my summary accurately reflect what he said as best as you can tell. >> yes. what he was saying, and i was really impressed by what he was saying. france, now, is completely at
war and we're witnessing tonight a democracy which is going to put troops all over to protect citizens against terrorism and it's happening in france. and the main point of the presidential speech was the state of emergency, which is going to be extended for more than three months and it was big thing in france. the other people were saying, okay, we're going to have a summer without a state of emergency. france doesn't have a national guard, so he's going to ask what we call a part of the french military and usually they're in the towns that the people trying sometimes to arrest people, but they're not military training and he's going to -- which is a special force in terms, again, similar to the national guards
in the united states. to do check points and in a way, france, is now in the middle of the summer completely militarized to avoid and to prevent another terrorist attack. this is a history, which is happening at this moment in front of us. >> in terms of understanding, for american audience, the analogy will be the calling up and deployment of the national guard to not just bolster local policing but to bolster the borders nationwide, the national guard being called up and put in the streets. >> it's a very different concept, because you have the police in france and you have the military, and you have, also, the part of the ministry of defense, but it's not the military and it's not also -- however, they have the power in
france to, again, stop you when you're drinking too much to arrest you if you have a problem with -- that part of the towns, they know precisely what's happening. so it's a unit, which doesn't exist here. but they're really not like military people that -- they're not like police officers, they're just trying to know what's happening in the cities, but they're able to do some arrests and they're able to prevent something. >> in term of the president's announcement tonight about iraq and syria, he said he's going to be convening the defense council before he himself goes there. he also said we will, at least in the translation, strengthen and increase operations in iraq and syria, is that an announcement that he is making tonight in response to this attack or is that something that the president had already been
pursuing? >> he's making an announcement between afghanistan and other parts of the world like africa, the french special forces are doing a lot of things to prevent attacks. what is interesting, he did on going details that basically he was, again, as you can see that, saying that they're going to do something where it's happening, mean, iraq and syria, what are they going to do, nobody knows. are they going to act alone, no, and what is interesting that as you may know, there was apparently a summit, which was suppose to be in washington to see mid july, around july 20, set up by the white house to organize an answer and to try to find a solution to go by and see what's going to happen gents isis for the democracy. is it going to happen, the summit, that's going to be something to watch.
but, basically, now, there's a need for a coalition and the french and very way. he's saying, okay, we now have to do something in iraq and syria, again, he didn't want to give too many details. i just would like to add something for your audience, the french president was talking about the number of people while going to be officially declared that is going to be really horrible because he was talking about 77 people, 20 injured, meaning some of those people are going to die, so, you're talking about almost 90 people are going to die in the attacks. and also we have information when he was talking, you have a lot of kids tonight who are injured, 30 kids have been hospitalized and most of the kids are critically injured. >> wow! terrible news